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Louisiana breaks daily COVID record for second day in a row

Published: Dec. 29, 2021 at 3:45 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 30, 2021 at 11:49 AM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Louisiana has reported the largest single-day increase in new COVID-19 cases for the second day in a row.

On Dec. 30, the Louisiana Department of Health reported 12,467 cases of COVID-19, the highest number in a single day since the onset of the pandemic 659 days ago, in March of 2020. The state added an additional two deaths, edging closer to 15,000 statewide. Another 103 patients were hospitalized, for a total of 762.

The day before, the state recorded the previous record of 9,378 cases of COVID-19.

“Setting daily COVID records is not where we want to be,” a communications director for the governor’s office tweeted.

More: City, state officials urging NYE safety as thousands descend upon New Orleans

During the August delta surge, LDH reported over 10,000 new cases at least twice, but those numbers were for three-day periods.

The data supports what health experts across the nation have been saying since the omicron variant was discovered in South Africa; this variant is more contagious, though symptoms appear milder.

Even though hospitalizations tripled since Dec. 16, Louisiana is still well below the peak number of hospitalizations, over 3,000 during the delta surge.

Gov. Edwards will address the state on Thurs., Dec. 30 at 1 p.m.

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Florida reported almost 47,000 new cases on Dec. 29, shattering the previous record for new cases in a single day.

The fast-spreading mutant version of the virus has cast a pall over Christmas and New Year’s, forcing communities to scale back or call off their festivities just weeks after it seemed as if Americans were about to enjoy an almost normal holiday season. Thousands of flights have been canceled amid staffing shortages blamed on the virus. Restaurants and other businesses have begun an all-too-familiar rotating schedule of temporary closures and deep cleanings as service industry workers are hit with positive test results.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, said Wednesday that there is no need to cancel small home gatherings among vaccinated and boosted family and friends.

But “if your plans are to go to a 40- to 50-person New Year’s Eve party with all the bells and whistles and everybody hugging and kissing and wishing each other a happy new year, I would strongly recommend that this year we not do that,” he said.

In New Orleans, the 2022 Allstate Sugar Bowl game in the Superdome between Baylor and Ole Miss is scheduled to go on as usual, including a New Year’s Eve Parade through the French Quarter. The New Orleans Saints, who were decimated by the virus last Sunday, will take on the Carolina Panthers, who are dealing with a COVID outbreak of their own, the following day.

Outside of the Caesar's Superdome for the Saints-Dolphins game on Dec. 26.
Outside of the Caesar's Superdome for the Saints-Dolphins game on Dec. 26.

Public health experts will be closely watching the numbers in the coming week for indications of the vaccines’ effectiveness in preventing serious illness, keeping people out of the hospital and relieving strain on exhausted health care workers, said Bob Bednarczyk, a professor of global health and epidemiology at Emory University.

CDC data already suggests that the unvaccinated are hospitalized at much higher rates than those who have gotten inoculated, even if the effectiveness of the shots decreases over time, he said.

It’s highly unlikely that hospitalization numbers will ever rise to their previous peak, said Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security at the Bloomberg School Public Health. Vaccines and treatments developed since last year have made it easier to curb the spread of the virus and minimize serious effects among people with breakthrough infections.

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